How to Survive World Religions 101

one of the challenges faced by the church today is how to prepare our young people well for life in a university environment in fact youth groups often go out of their way to prepare students well for college unfortunately the tip of a youth group today only focuses on how to prepare students for college on a moral level or on an ethical level they think how can we make sure that a college students goes to college and lives out the Christian life in terms of their behavior and that's good and that's important one of the things that often gets overlooked in the discussion is how to prepare students for college intellectually or doctrinally or academically and so what typically happens a student goes off to college and finds themselves in a religion class religion 101 they're not prepared to handle what they get there their worldview is shattered and shaken and many end up leaving the faith as a result so one of the questions I get all the time from folks is what do I do if I'm in that situation and how do I sort of prepare for life in a university environment where Christianity is viewed as is intellectually indefensible and and something that the whole world is hostile towards that experience of going off to college in that situation is one that I experienced myself as an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill I entered college as a committed Christian a follower of Christ faithfully as best I could following him and I got to UNC and I thought I was prepared to deal with the challenges of college when I got there I found that I wasn't because I was only really prepared to deal with the ethical issues and not the intellectual issues and I found myself in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman and many know Bart Ehrman's name he's a well-known scholar who attacks Christianity and and I was shaken up pretty good as a young Christian but I learned some lessons from that and so I'll just pass along some points I've learned over the years I thought about life in the university environment as an undergraduate just a few things to think about first thing is that I would encourage students to make sure their expectations are straight before they head into college lots of us have this idea that if something is true most people will believe it that's sort of this this maxim that's in the back of our head that we don't really know we believe it we don't really know why we believe it but we just simply believe that if something is true most people will affirm it and that if some something is affirmed by most people must be true if it's rejected by most people it must be false and so people take that idea into college and they found out that most of the college faculty and most of their fellow students for jet Christian they conclude well therefore it must be false but that's a really misguided expectation because the Bible is very clear that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit and the normal person without God's Aid won't recognize the truth of Christianity so the idea that if something is true most people will believe it is simply not the case in fact Christianity is true and less God opens up a person's mind they won't believe it and so one thing to get straight at the outset is have your expectation straight realize you will receive opposition people will reject the Bible and they may do so in great numbers but that has nothing to do with the truth of Christianity the second thing I would encourage people to recognize and remember when they're in that environment in a religion 101 class just remember that their professors aren't neutral sometimes we have this idea that scholars are sort of walking around in white lab coats just objectively neutrally looking at the evidence with a with a blank slate and that whatever conclusions they reach well that must be the way things are but students have to remember that professors aren't neutral they are biased they do have a worldview they do have a perspective they're coming from they've actually been trained at a university and how to think about the Bible from a very secular perspective so it's no surprise that in the religion class are going to share that secular perspective with you as a student let's remember that there's no neutrality that they're not coming at it unbiased and that's important remember a third thing to keep in mind when you're going through a university class is to remember that there are answers to your questions lots of students think if they don't have the answers then they're nuts there must not be an answer but don't confuse your lack of having the answer what they're not being an answer even if you don't know what the answers are there are answers out there most religion professors will present problems with the Bible and problems with Christianity as if they're new discoveries as if no one's ever heard of this before is if it's a brand new problem that no one's dealt with what you'll find is in fact scholars from the very beginning of the age of the church and Beyond have seen these problems from the very start they've dealt with them they've given answers to them there's a great wealth of heaven Jellicle scholarship out there where there's answers that have been given to these problems so I'd encourage you to make sure that you dive into those things and really dig for those answers that leads to a fourth suggestion as you think about life in a university environment that is to not just look at opposition as a curse not just look at it as an obstacle but actually look at it as an opportunity and look at it as a blessing and here's why lots of times people don't go near as deep nor near as far in their faith because they never receive opposition they kind of go through life fairly easily and no one really opposes them it's only when sometimes people oppose you that you take the opportunity to dig deeper into your faith to go further than you ever have before it's challenges that make you grow and make you stronger so rather than seeing the Opposition in the university environment is purely negative look at it like an athlete looks like working out I mean the pain and the difficulty and the stress of working out makes you stronger faster more fit in fact that's what the early church discovered when they were challenged in the second century when early Christians were challenged and their beliefs by the Roman Empire the apologist stepped forward and thought about the faith in new ways and it forced their hand to go deeper into their intellectual understanding of Christianity and the era had before and that's what can happen to a student today so use it as an opportunity to go deeper and to study more and then finally and fifthly the most important thing in all of this is if you would as you walk through that university environment as you endure those challenges in a religion class that you not do it alone lots of people go off to college and they're struggling and they just stay in isolation they don't share with anybody and I would encourage you as you go into a situation like that that you make sure first and foremost that you get involved in a good church a local church where you're hearing the preached word you're connected to that body you have accountability and support and even beyond that that you're involved in a Christian Fellowship hopefully on campus with peers who love Christ and are walking with him that environment is the type of environment where you want to deal with intellectual issues don't deal with intellectual issues in isolation deal with them within the community of Christ

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